Return of the Native

Vying and Dying to Leave

John Gardner once said that there are only two types of stories: someone leaving home or a stranger coming into town; The Return of the Native meets both of these in a way. Eustacia wishes to leave, while Clym returns, but seems to be almost a different person. Hardy's work offers a unique insight into the plight not only of a man trying to return to the heath that highlighted his youth, but also the attempt of an ambitious young girl to outgrow her meager surroundings. A particularly interesting passage is the section immediately before Eustacia Yeobright's flight, and ultimately, catastrophic death. The episode is made more tragic than a simple accident because of her wish to leave the heath as her low-vaulted past. These pages not only serve to blame fate and nature in the foreshadowing of Eustacia's death, but also portray it as tragic and disillusioning because of the narrator's attempts to raise sympathy for her.

From the outset, it is made clear that this death is not only fatalistic, but also naturalistic. "The gloom of the night was funeral (345)," foreshadows the soon-to-be tragedy. On her walk, she is "occasionally stumbling over twisted furze-roots (345)," showing how close...

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